Crashing into the Carolina Panthers' backfield Thursday night was a heady moment for Ravens rookie defensive lineman Brandon Williams.
Especially since the 6-foot-1, 335-pound third-round draft pick recorded his first NFL sack against elusive Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, a former top overall pick of the draft and Heisman Trophy winner who won a national championship at Auburn.
"I've been watching that guy, Cam, growing up, and when I was in college, " said Williams, a sleeper from Division II Missouri Southern who decked Newton for a 10-yard loss. "When I hit him, it didn't sink in until afterwards that I got a sack and hit Cam Newton."
Through three preseason games, Williams has recorded 10 tackles with seven solo tackles and one sack.
The Panthers' offensive line didn't mount much interference to slow down Williams' charge.
"The guy didn't really get his hands on me," Williams said. "He gave me a little flipper and I got in there."
The Ravens' defense doesn't square off with any dual-threat quarterbacks quite like Newton this season
Playing against him provided a test of their mobility.
Newton completed 10 of 19 passes for 99 yards for no touchdowns or interceptions. He also rushed for 20 yards on two carries, but was sacked three times.
For Ravens starting weak-side linebacker Josh Bynes, playing against Newton brought back old memories from their days as teammates at Auburn.
"That's the kind of quarterback who's good on his feet and you got to contain him in the pocket," Bynes said. "We practice all the time against Tyrod [Taylor], so he gives us a great look when he takes off running and scrambling. It was a great feeling playing against Cam."